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The Role of Water-Rock Interaction Processes in Soil Formation: Geochemical, Mineralogical, Geomorphological, and Engineering-Geological Aspects

Call for Papers

This special issue solicits methodological contributions and multidisciplinary studies on all the aspects of water-rock interaction in soil formation and specifically on the analysis and modeling of pedogenetic alteration processes, also in relation to the chemical characteristics of percolating waters feeding groundwater reservoirs, authigenic solid phases, and the underlying bedrock.

The tectonic conditions play a key role for the water circulation in the ground. Thus, the combination of the tectonics of an area with its climatic conditions (in terms of rain amount and types) influences the chemical, mineralogical, and physical transformations of rock masses occurring during weathering processes. These changes further affect the stability of rock masses with a considerable decay of their physical and mechanical properties and, thus, can result in the onset of adverse geomorphological consequences.

In particular, pedogenetic alteration processes weaken the rock, producing thick sequences of weathered materials (residual soils such as saprolites) and a reduction of mechanical properties, due to cycles of wetting-drying, softening, and infiltration of different aqueous solutions, making slopes vulnerable to landslides. Lack of understanding of geotechnical properties and soil thickness may lead to wrong decisions in land management, soil erosion estimation, shallow landslide susceptibility assessment, and the design of risk mitigation countermeasures.

Moreover, when weathering affects ultramafic rocks, some naturally occurring potentially harmful elements (e.g., Cr, Ni, Co, and V) become enriched in soils. In turn, these elements may be extracted from soils and may be concentrated in plant tissues, leading to either their further dispersion in the environment or possible phytoextraction uses.

Another theme of interest is the enhanced mobilization of asbestos or asbestiform minerals due to human activities affecting soils (e.g., road construction, excavation, and mining) in comparison with natural weathering processes.

The qualitative interpretation of these phenomena is often insufficient for understanding pedogenetic processes and other processes of interest. Consequently, it is advisable to simulate these processes by geochemical modeling thanks to the availability of both laboratory measurements of dissolution rates for several minerals including silicates, oxides, hydroxides, carbonates, sulphates, phosphates, and sulfides and sufficiently complete and accurate thermodynamic data for numerous minerals, aqueous species, and gases.

Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • Geochemical modeling of soil processes
  • Groundwater and soil water geochemistry
  • Soil geochemistry and mineralogy
  • Influence of climatic conditions on the transformations of rock masses
  • Rock-forming minerals containing potentially harmful elements
  • Weathering formation processes and rates and landscape evolution
  • Soil erosion
  • Water-rock interaction processes in weathering profile formation

Authors can submit their manuscripts through the Manuscript Tracking System at

Submission DeadlineFriday, 16 March 2018
Publication DateAugust 2018

Papers are published upon acceptance, regardless of the Special Issue publication date.

Lead Guest Editor

Guest Editors

  • Francesco Perri, University of Calabria, Rende, Italy
  • Luigi Borrelli, National Research Council of Italy-Research Institute for Geo-Hydrological Protection, Rende, Italy
  • Tommaso Caloiero, National Research Council-Institute for Agricultural and Forest Systems in the Mediterranean (CNR-ISAFOM), Rende, Italy